Where are the Joneses?

June 17, 2007


Quietly on Thursday the first audience participation sitcom to use an open licence went live. It’s called “Where are the Joneses?

The synopsis is that Dawn (left) has found out that she is the child of sperm donor and she now has the list of the other 27 siblings who are scattered across Europe. After contacting her new found brother Ian (Right) they begin the search with Jonti, the director filming their journey.

The basis to the project is that it’s a marketing experiment for the Ford Motor Company. Together we have been developing the project for 6 months. Seeing this live is undoubtedly my proudest moment as it’s the form of communication that I left Channel 4 TV to pursue.

The experiment is to embrace the value of networks by using an architecture of audience participation to generate semantic broadcasting. As the actors and their roving production team of 3 explore Europe, they will be posting approx 5 minutes of video daily along with various tweets, image and text posts.

To do this several significant changes to the traditional method of media manufacturing had to occur. First, the use licence had to be correct so that any participation could be freely shared with collaborating communities – so we applied Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0. (For those who follow the Creative Commons project, I bet you’re a little surprised to find Ford being the first global brand to use the licence on a commercial media project. Personally, I’m delighted.)

Second, the project had to be built upon existing web(2.0) services so that we could take the project to an audience rather than drag people into the project. Youtube is being used for video delivery, Flickr for photos, WordPress for the Blog (where the comedy is ‘played out’) and wikidot (where the audience can collaborate with each other, the actors and their production team). Dapper, Yahoo!Pipes, Facebook, various Google Apps, Twitter etc etc are also used to manage data flow and generate material for the actors to work from. If you like, it’s a UGC authentic media comedy based upon RSS feeds generating free open media.

Such factors begins to blur the answer to ‘what is content?’ We invited BabyCow to work with us on this because of their ability to produce the highest quality comedy and evolve characters. Their team is headed up by Henry Normal (Steve Coogan’s writer and business partner) and Ali MacPhail (Who was the exec producer on productions such as Nighty Night and The Mighty Boosh). They have helped significantly in demonstrating that media can be produced for both entertainment and marketing, outside the normal broadcasting channels and platforms.

By working with a classic TV production company to create marketing that is based upon the audiences input is the opportunity to give the audience the entertainment they ask for. We are encouraging the audience to take part in the project in any way they wish to. Write scripts, design characters, recommend locations across Europe and if you want to, you can be in the production as a character – you may wish to become a Jones yourself. You can also take the media and ideas and use them for you own benifit.

I will post more about this remarkable project over the next few week as we watch it mutate. For now, I really want to praise my employer Imagination and the inhouse team for getting their head around this production, Rob Myers for the original conversation back in Nov 2005 and the continuous remarkable insights into new forms of media production, Loca Records for the music (licenced under BY-SA too) and of course Claire and Richard from Ford of Europe who championed The Joneses from day zero. In my book they are currently the most pioneering clients in marketing today.

I’ll leave you with the first episode of the project. (Don’t forget to subscribe to the RSS feed off the blog). I hope you enjoy the forthcoming 12 weeks of this project – lets see if it goes further than that.

15 Responses to “Where are the Joneses?”

  1. […] Where are the Joneses? « Zero influence “I really want to praise […] Rob Myers for the original conversation back in Nov 2005 and the continuous remarkable insights into new forms of media production” (tags: aw-shucks where-are-the-joneses dave-bausola) […]

  2. Marcus Says:

    This could potentially get me excited. Bloody hell!

  3. Hi Marcus – it’ll would be great to introduce Sacrum to the Joneses. 😉

  4. Sacrum Says:

    Mr Zero I walk the many mile still, but I is soon to be coming to the place that I is calling my home. That is Munich. That is where I living.

    I knowing Jones? I not know anything of anybody! I having family fortunes? My babbage coming up blanks.

    I have no one.

    I send you warmness.

  5. i’m still getting my head round this, but Ive a funny feeling this is potentially one of the most exciting developments in tv for a long time.
    In fact, what Sacrum said sums it up 🙂

  6. Andy Says:

    Hey David,
    just read the article about this in the Guardian. Didn’t realise til I googled it that you were involved. Nice one!

    I’d be interested in hearing more about how it works for Ford, and the production company. Are all the costs covered? What are Ford expecting out of it? What are their metrics?!

  7. Dear Mr Sacrum

    Your warmness is received with open hands.

    There maybe be family in places not yet pondered upon. Perhaps a walk with the Joneses may ease any concern.

    Intentional blesssing,

  8. Eaon – great to meet you at Chinway. Stay tuned to WRTJ – just when you think you understand what’s going on, it’ll be changed by some pesky genius in the wiki forums!

  9. Hey Andy – long time no see. How’s the tunage? I’d love to hear you do a soundtrack to a Joneses video mashup using Davy Jones Locker by Drexciya!

    I should have nudged you when they we’re in Brighton. Keep an eye on them, they may just come back that way.

    Ford are the sole sponsors to the project. Regarding expections and metrics, lets discuss that over a jar in Brigton soon.

  10. susie dean Says:

    Has any one sussed out the answer to the quest to find out ‘Who is Dan Fielding’?



  11. Nope. Do tell Susie.

  12. […] in June, when we launched “Where are the Joneses?” I was actually in Bradford presenting the […]

  13. […] wurde mit “Where are the Jonses” die erste „Audience Particitpation Sitcom“ […]

  14. OpitteetRic Says:

    Hey everyone,

    Figured I’d share this funny tale. Basically, A massively unlucky man got arrested after he blew gas near a cop in some southern state in the USA.

    Read the rest on lolcraze

    Man arrested for farting

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